Bruce Fulton and herringbone layout questions

Discussion in 'Solid and Engineered Hardwood Q&A' started by Chowchewey, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. Chowchewey

    Chowchewey Member

    Have a den I'd like to install solid oak prefinished hardwood flooring in. Room is approx 11 x 13'. At one doorway it adjoins with a foyer that also has oak flooring that I'd like to match.

    The flooring in the foyer is a Bruce Fulton 2.25" natural prefinished hardwood. Looking at this flooring today it is $8-$9 a sq ft. and no one around seems to stock it. But yet I see similar looking Bruce flooring at the big box stores (not labeled Fulton) for half that price with the same finish warranty. What is the difference between the 2? Should I go with the big box stuff for ease of shopping and hope it lasts?

    Second question in the den I'd like to do a herringbone pattern in the corners where the flooring is laid parallel to all the walls. My question is I don't know how to start this pattern as I am worried about how the center of the pattern will look. Or do I start from the center and work towards the walls? How do the pros pull this layout off?

    Thanks for all the help
  2. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member Senior Member

    The box stores get what they want and label the way they want. You could get unfinished and re stain all of your wood to look the same.
  3. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

  4. Chowchewey

    Chowchewey Member

    Thanks for the Lowes link - a Lowes is a bit of a drive for me but worth it!

    I attached a rough layout of what I am doing or want to do. I couldn't get it to save very large so you may need to enlarge it to see the detail. Don't pay much attention to the staggers either - its rough.

    I'm concerned about the center if I start from the walls in. The actual dimensions of the room are 12'11" x 13' 3" neither of which is divisible by 2.25". In that case I think I will get to the center and have a fraction of a board width left? Wouldn't look better if I had less than a full width of a strip on an outside course?

    Thanks again for all the help. Art

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  5. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    Yes, start in the middle and cut into the walls.
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    • Agree Agree x 3
  6. That’s really not a herringbone pattern. The pieces are not designed to fit back together in that configuration. We had a bid in to do a job similar to that layout except in Center there was a bar. Probably 80 ft lengths. I had two router tables to recreate the tongue and groove on a hand scraped engineered wood. That job never happened, they fired the designer thankfully.

    Not sure but herringbone has to be designed by manufacturer for that specific pattern and has to be precise. I never liked difficult “patterns” to me flooring should be plain and simple, not take attention away from surroundings.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    Hardwood isn't "designed" to be reversed either. That's why the flooring Gods created splines. The OP's design can be done with lots of spline and a router. It's a DIY challenge, but doable.
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  8. Barry Carlton

    Barry Carlton I Support TFP Senior Member Published

    Am I missing something? I only see the ends needing adaptation. ( once outside of the center.)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Chris 45

    Chris 45 Director of P.R. on some deserted island. I Support TFP

    Looks like a fun job for sure.
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  10. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    I didn't analyze it that thoroughly. "Lots" is subjective in this case. It will need spline and a router to do what the diagram shows; I am sure of that. I suppose I could recreate the drawing to illustrate where each board's tongues and grooves are, but that would take more time than I care to invest.
  11. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    If I were asked to do it, I would mitre all the 45 angles, more work but better look and feisability in the end.
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    The OP referred to the layout as "herringbone" so I have to assume that illustrated look was what was desired, not the framed look of 45° mitered corners. In this case, beauty is in the eye of the homeowner, not the installer. If I were asked to do it, I would do my best to give the homeowner what they wanted. It would no doubt come at a cost directly proportional to the difficulty of the task.
  13. Barry Carlton

    Barry Carlton I Support TFP Senior Member Published

    I agree..I would suggest the mitre but do what they wanted within reason. Honestly I really like the look the OP posted. I did this as a border around a duraceramic center.
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  14. Steve Olson

    Steve Olson Hardwood/Laminate Guru Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Up in my neck of the woods, we call those log cabin corners. I did a few sample areas of that in our LVT showroom; and they've been selling a few of those each years. Much easier then a herring bone, what we wind up doing is a field in the center of one color, and then log cabin corner anywhere from a couple rows to a couple feet of it. Kind of gives it an area rug look, popular in dining rooms and great rooms.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  15. Chowchewey

    Chowchewey Member

    Thanks for all of your time and input. Yes, the desired look was to keep the butt ends square in the corners- no miter. Given some of the comments perhaps it is best to only use the "log cabin corners" as a 2' - 3' border or so and fill the field in with lengthwise courses. But the question is still about how best to pull that off? I saw some articles that suggest starting with a 3 sided frame around the field, fill the field, and then finish the border out to the walls. That approach seemed to make some sense although I would probably have a less than full width last course next the walls. Perhaps better there than in the middle of the room itself.
  16. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    How I would do that may differ from others, so I hope they offer their own suggestions. I would lay out where you want the field boards to be with chalk lines so that the width of the layout is exactly X number of boards wide. Nail scrap wood (no taller than the hardwood) along the outside of the longest line as starter blocks you can butt your first row, groove side to. That and the last row will be the only boards that fall directly on the line. The other 2 sides (the ends), your boards will go slightly past the line.

    Start installing the field as normal. Your starting blocks can be removed after a couple 2 or 3 rows are down - they were there just to get you started straight. Once the field is done, you can square the ends and cut them off all at once. I would score each line with a sharp utility knife and cut right on the line to prevent any chip-up.

    Now you can route a groove in the ends. You will be gluing in a spline in each grooved side. Begin your "log cabin" border on the tongue side of your choice and work your way around the field. You may have to route a groove in the end of a few boards and add a short piece of spline. Cut your boards carefully using the utility knife to mark and score - it's more accurate than a fat pencil line and will prevent those tiny slivers of chipping when you cut.

    Be sure to share photos of your work. We love to see the outcome of jobs.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  17. Chowchewey

    Chowchewey Member

    Jim - thank you for your well thought out response. I will give it a go - may take me a while but I like your plan. I haven't even purchased the material yet or have the space prepped so the pics will take some time but I will send. Thank you again. Art
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  18. Chowchewey

    Chowchewey Member

    Some follow up questions - is there a specific router bit used to route the groove? Also what about using a biscuit joiner and biscuits instead?

    In the log cabin corners do the butt ends have to have a tongue? In other words if I have to cut a piece to length, should I route a groove for a spline on the end? Thanks. Art
  19. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

    If you buy ready made spline, or make your own, the splines and grooves you cut should match the boards' existing tongue & groove.

    Most flooring installers use the router and spline option. I suppose a biscuit joiner and biscuits would work, but would be more time consuming. And you risk a wavy appearance in certain light over time as the boards are exposed to fluctuations in humidity levels (and the occasional spill). There needs to be material of the same general composition as the hardwood to fill every void. Since a groove is already milled in 2 sides of every board, you should fill that groove with a similar material (similar in that it has the same rate of expansion and contraction in environmental conditions).

    The rule of thumb is, if your boards come with a tongue on 2 sides and a groove on the other 2 sides, then you should replicate that if ever a cut end or side abuts another board.
  20. Chowchewey

    Chowchewey Member

    Thanks again Jim. I forgot to ask another question. This new flooring will meet up with an existing floor of the same material. Given the layout I have chosen, at the doorway where these 2 materials meet I will have a tongue facing another tongue. what is the best way to deal with this? My thought was to rip off the tongue of the last piece, route a groove and face nail it. Is there a better way? Thanks again. Art

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